Christoph Waltz is a German-Austrian actor and director, since 2009 mainly active in the United States.
His breakout American role came in Quentin Tarantino's 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, where he played SS officer Hans Landa. He would later collaborate with Tarantino once again in 2012, where he played bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained. For each performance, he earned an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. Waltz also received the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of Landa.
Waltz portrayed computer genius Qohen Leth in the science fiction film The Zero Theorem, American plagiarist Walter Keane in the biographical film Big Eyes, and James Bond's nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Spectre and No Time to Die. For his role as Walter Keane, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor. He also provided the voice of Mandrake in Epic.
Early lifeWaltz was born on 4 October 1956 in Vienna, Austria, the son of Johannes Waltz, a German set designer, and Elisabeth Urbancic, an Austrian costume designer. Waltz comes from a family of theatrical heritage: his maternal grandmother was Burgtheater and silent film actress Maria Mayen, and his step-grandfather, Emmerich Reimers, and his great-grandfather, Georg Reimers, were both stage actors who also appeared in silent films. Waltz's maternal grandfather, Rudolf von Urban, was a psychiatrist and a student of Sigmund Freud.
Waltz's father died when he was seven years old, and his mother later married composer and conductor Alexander Steinbrecher. Steinbrecher was previously married to the mother of director Michael Haneke; as a result, Waltz and Haneke shared the same stepfather.
Waltz had a passion for opera as a youth, having seen his first opera at around the age of ten. As a teenager, Waltz would visit the opera twice a week. He was uninterested in theatre, and had wished to become an opera singer.
After graduating from Vienna's Theresianum, Waltz went to study acting at the renowned Max Reinhardt Seminar. At the same time, he also studied singing and opera at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, but eventually decided that his voice was not good enough for an opera career. In the late 1970s, Waltz spent some time in New York City where he trained with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. He studied script interpretation under Adler, and credits his analytical approach to her teaching.
CareerOn his return to Europe, Waltz found work as a stage actor, making his debut at the Schauspielhaus in Zurich. He also performed in Vienna, Salzburg, Cologne and Hamburg. He became a prolific television actor in the years 1980 to 2000. In 2000, he made his directorial debut, with the German television production Wenn man sich traut. Before coming to the attention of a larger audience in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, he had played Dr. Hans-Joachim Dorfmann in the British TV series The Gravy Train in 1990. The show is a story of intrigue and misdeeds set in the offices of the European Union in Brussels.
In Quentin Tarantino's 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, Waltz portrayed SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa, also known as "The Jew Hunter". Clever, courteous, multilingual—but also self-serving, cunning, implacable and murderous—the character of Landa was such that Tarantino feared he "might have written a part that was un-playable". Waltz received the Best Actor Award for the performance at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and received acclaim from critics and the public. In 2009, he began sweeping critics' awards circuits, receiving awards for Best Supporting Actor from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and for Best Supporting Actor at the 67th Golden Globe Awards and the 16th Screen Actors Guild Awards in January 2010.
The following month, he won the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor, and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Tarantino acknowledged the importance of Waltz to his film by stating: "I think that Landa is one of the best characters I've ever written and ever will write, and Christoph played it to a tee. It's true that if I couldn't have found someone as good as Christoph I might not have made Inglourious Basterds".
Waltz played gangster Benjamin Chudnofsky in The Green Hornet ; that same year, he starred in Water for Elephants and Roman Polanski's Carnage. He played German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, a role Tarantino wrote specifically for Waltz. During a training accident prior to filming, Waltz injured his pelvis. His role garnered him acclaim once again, with Waltz winning the Golden Globe, the BAFTA, and ultimately the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Waltz has been cast as the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the film Reykjavik, based on the 1986 peace talks between the United States and USSR. In April 2013, he was selected as a member of the main competition jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. He directed a production of the opera Der Rosenkavalier at the Vlaamse Opera, in Antwerp in late 2013, and in Ghent early 2014. In 2014, he was selected as a member of the jury for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. He starred as Walter Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes, which opened on 25 December 2014, and appeared as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Spectre, the 24th film in the James Bond franchise. In July 2019, it was reported that Waltz would reprise the role in No Time to Die.
In 2015, it was announced that Waltz would direct and star in the film Georgetown, which is based on the true crime story of the murder of Viola Drath. In July 2016, he portrayed lead villain Captain Leon Rom, a corrupt Belgian captain, in the reboot The Legend of Tarzan.
In 2017, Waltz appeared in the films Tulip Fever and Downsizing. In 2019, Waltz appeared in the action fantasy . He directed a production of the opera Falstaff, again at the Vlaamse Opera, in Antwerp in late 2017, and in Ghent in early 2018.
Personal lifeWaltz has three children with his former wife, Jackie, a psychotherapist originally from New York. The two lived in London and their marriage lasted 17 years. Waltz married his second wife, German costume designer Judith Holste, with whom he has a daughter. They divide their time between Berlin and Los Angeles.
Waltz's native language is German, and he also speaks both English and French fluently. He speaks all three of these in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, and although his character in Inglourious Basterds also spoke Italian, Waltz said on the Adam Carolla Podcast that he is not fluent in Italian.
Waltz was born in Vienna to a German father who applied for him to become a citizen of Germany after his birth. He received Austrian citizenship in 2010, thus holding citizenships of both Austria and Germany, but considers his German passport a "legal, citizenship law banality" despite the fact that he had not previously been able to vote in Austria's national elections. Asked whether he felt Viennese, he responded: "I was born in Vienna, grew up in Vienna, went to school in Vienna, graduated in Vienna, studied in Vienna, started acting in Vienna – and there would be a few further Viennese links. How much more Austrian do you want it?"
|1979||Breakthrough||Paramedic||English||Andrew V. McLaglen||Uncredited|
|1981||Headstand||Markus||German||Veith von Fürstenberg|
|1982||Fire and Sword||Tristan||English||Veith von Fürstenberg|
|1986||Wahnfried||Friedrich Nietzsche||German||Peter Patzak|
|1988||'||Police Chief||English||Nicolas Gessner|
|1991||'||Jan Tytz||Polish||Krzysztof Zanussi||Credited as Chistopher Waltz|
|1995||The Start of Something||Herbert||German||Nikolaus Leytner|
|1997||'||Maksymilian Gierymski||English||Krzysztof Zanussi|
|1998||Seven Moons||Kom. Becker||German||Peter Fratzscher|
|1998||Love Scenes from Planet Earth||Charly||German||Marc Rothemund|
|1999||The Bride||Karl August||German||Egon Günther|
|2000||Ordinary Decent Criminal||Peter||English||Thaddeus O'Sullivan|
|2000||Falling Rocks||Louis||German||Peter Keglevic|
|2000||Death, Deceit and Destiny Aboard the Orient Express||Ossama / Tarik||English||Mark Roper|
|2001||Queen's Messenger||Ali Ben Samm||English||Mark Roper|
|2003||Berlin Blues||Doctor||German||Leander Haußmann|
|2004||Pact with the Devil||Rolf Steiner||English||Allan A. Goldstein|
|2006||Lapislazuli: In the Eyes of the Bear||Czerny||German||Wolfgang Murnberger|
|2009||Inglourious Basterds||Col. Hans Landa||English||Quentin Tarantino||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2011||The Green Hornet||Benjamin Chudnofsky / Bloodnofsky||English||Michel Gondry|
|2011||Water for Elephants||August Rosenbluth||English||Francis Lawrence|
|2011||The Three Musketeers||Cardinal Richelieu||English||Paul W. S. Anderson|
|2011||Carnage||Alan Cowan||English||Roman Polanski|
|2012||Django Unchained||Dr. King Schultz||English||Quentin Tarantino||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2013||The Zero Theorem||Qohen Leth||English||Terry Gilliam||Also co-producer|
|2014||Muppets Most Wanted||Himself||English||James Bobin||Cameo|
|2014||Horrible Bosses 2||Burt Hanson||English||Sean Anders|
|2014||Big Eyes||Walter Keane||English||Tim Burton|
|2015||Spectre||Ernst Stavro Blofeld||English||Sam Mendes|
|2016||The Legend of Tarzan||Léon Rom||English||David Yates|
|2017||Tulip Fever||Cornelis Sandvoort||English||Justin Chadwick|
|2017||Downsizing||Dusan Mirkovic||English||Alexander Payne|
|2019||'||Dr. Dyson Ido||English||Robert Rodriguez|
|2019||Himself||English||Tara Wood||Documentary film|
|2020||The French Dispatch||Boris Schommers||English||Wes Anderson||Post-production|
|2020||No Time to Die||Ernst Stavro Blofeld||English||Cary Joji Fukunaga||Post-production|
|2021||Pinocchio||The Fox and the Cat||English||Guillermo del Toro|
|Rifkin's Festival||TBA||English||Woody Allen||Post-production|
|1977||Am dam des||German|
|1977||Der Einstand||Gunther Vesley||German||Television film|
|1979||Feuer!||Karl Albrecht Schlick||German||Television film|
|1979||Parole Chicago||Eduard "Ede" Bredo||German||13 episodes|
|1982||The Mysterious Stranger||Ernst Wasserman||English||Television film|
|1982||Dr. Margarete Johnsohn||Rainer||German||Television film|
|1983||Der Sandmann||Nathanael||German||Television film|
|1985||Ein Fall für zwei||Alf||German||Episode: "Blutsbande"|
|1986||The Old Fox||Hans Baumeister||German||Episode: "Zwei Leben"|
|1986||Derrick||Eberhard Bothe||German||Episode: "Schonzeit für Mörder"|
|1986||Lenz oder die Freiheit||Franz Sigel||German||Television miniseries|
|1987||Tatort||Inspektor Passini||German||Episode: "Wunschlos tot"|
|1987||Das andere Leben||Stefan||German||Television film|
|1988||'||Stefan Mueller||English||Television series|
|1988||Derrick||Schumann||German||Episode: "Mord inklusive"|
|1989||Goldeneye||German spy||English||Television film|
|1990||The Gravy Train||Dr. Hans-Joachim Dorfmann||English||4 episodes|
|1990||The Old Fox||Christian Kamp||German||Episode: "So gut wie tot"|
|1991||The Gravy Train Goes East||Dr. Hans-Joachim Dorfmann||English||4 episodes|
|1992||5 Zimmer, Küche, Bad||Hartwig Klemmnitz||German||Television film|
|1992||Die Angst wird bleiben||Manfred||German||Television film|
|1993||'||John of Leiden||German||Television film|
|1994||Tag der Abrechnung – Der Amokläufer von Euskirchen||Erwin Mikolajczyk||German||Television film|
|1994||Die Staatsanwältin||Andreas Doepke||German||Television film|
|1995||The All New Alexei Sayle Show||Weak Moustache||English||Episode #2.3|
|1995||Prinz zu entsorgen||Roman||German||Television film|
|1995||Catherine the Great||Mirovich||English||Television film|
|1996||Der Tourist||Stephan Görner||German||Television film|
|1996||Du bist nicht allein – Die Roy Black Story||Roy Black||German||Television film|
|1996||Rosa Roth||Wietze||German||Episode: "Nirgendwohin"|
|1996||'||Martin Wolf||German||Episode: "Der Puppenmörder"|
|1997||'||Walter Mueller||French||2 episodes|
|1997||'||Gerhardt Schulze-Leitner||German||Episode: "Villa Palermo"|
|1998||Vickys Alptraum||Johnny||German||Television film|
|1998||Schock – Eine Frau in Angst||Kommissar Kaul||German||Television film|
|1998||Rache für mein totes Kind||Paul||German||Television film|
|1998||Mörderisches Erbe – Tausch mit einer Toten||Moritz Fink||German||Television film|
|1999||Dessine-moi un jouet||Klaus Hermann||French||Television film|
|2000||The Beast||Herbert Fink||German||Television film|
|2001||Engel sucht Flügel||Caspari||German||Television film|
|2001||Riekes Liebe||Pair skating coach Karlhoff||German||Television film|
|2001||Der Tanz mit dem Teufel||Dieter Cilov||German||Television film|
|2002||Dienstreise – Was für eine Nacht||Klaus-Dieter Lehmann||German||Television film|
|2002||Weihnachtsmann gesucht||Johannes Böhmke||German||Television film|
|2003||Jagd auf den Flammenmann||Brisky||German||Television film|
|2003||Der Mörder ist unter uns||Martin Bach||German||Television film|
|2003||Zwei Tage Hoffnung||Michael Berg||German||Television film|
|2003||Tigeraugen sehen besser||Dr. Thilo Rylow||German||Television film|
|2004||Scheidungsopfer Mann||Benedikt von Arn||German||Television film|
|2004||Mörderische Suche||Richard Benedek||German||Television film|
|2004||Schöne Witwen küssen besser||Jean-France||German||Television film|
|2005||Die Patriarchin||Wolf Sevening||German||3 episodes|
|2005||Der Elefant: Mord verjährt nie||Richard Seemann||German||Episode: "Verlorene Jahre"|
|2006||SOKO Rhein-Main||Andreas Senner||German||Episode: "Schuld und Sühne"|
|2006||Polizeiruf 110||Dr. Juris Gríns||German||Episode: "Die Lettin und ihr Lover"|
|2006||Stolberg||Paul Büttner||German||Episode: "Kreuzbube"|
|2006||Tatort||Prof. Robert Henze||German||Episode: "Schlaflos in Weimar"|
|2006||Franziskas Gespür für Männer||Karl Löwen||German||Television film|
|2007||Der Staatsanwalt||Dr. Claudius Tressen||German||Episode: "Glückskinder"|
|2007||Der letzte Zeuge||Dr. Martin York||German||Episode: "Martinspassion"|
|2007||Unter Verdacht||Thomas Sell||German||Episode: "Hase and Igel"|
|2007||'||Frank "Büffel" Arbogast||German||Television film|
|2007||Die Verzauberung||Dr. Helmut Bahr||German||Television film|
|2008||Das Geheimnis im Wald||Hans Kortmann||German||Television film|
|2008||Todsünde||Sebastian Flies||German||Television film|
|2008||Das jüngste Gericht||Peters||German||Television film|
|2008||Die Anwälte||Herbert Jahn||German||Episode: "Leben und Tod"|
|2008||Tatort||Gerd Weißenbach||German||Episode: "Liebeswirren"|
|2013||Saturday Night Live||Host||English||Episode: "Christoph Waltz/Alabama Shakes"|
|2017||Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee||Guest||English||Episode: "Champagne, Cigars and Pancake Batter"|
|2020||Most Dangerous Game||Miles||English|
|2000||Wenn man sich traut|
- 2007: Robert M. Sapolsky: Mein Leben als Pavian. Random House Audio,